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Monday, 28 February 2011

12 things which Tea Master don't tell you

Hi! Tea friends,

Received from a friend of Mines, Lawrence Loh the useful article on the 12 things about tea that no restaurateur would have told you:

1. Never drink tea on an empty stomach

Always drink tea during or after a meal. Our stomachs are acidic and tea is alkalizing.
Acid and alkaline combined have a bloating effect.


2. Drink white tea if you are a smoker

White tea is really good for the lungs and throat, so it is especially beneficial for smokers.
A cup of white peony tea helps clear all the phlegm in our throats and cures coughs.


3. You won"t be able to tell the quality of white tea by its color

Most restaurants mix white peony tea with black tea to add color and flavor because customers generally prefer tea that tastes richer and looks darker in color.
Pure white tea itself has hardly any flavor or color compared to other teas.


4. Only fine dining Chinese restaurants serve screw shaped green tea

Genuine screw shaped green tea is the highest grade of green tea and the most expensive. At Ying Kee Tea House, it sells at HK$5,067 per kilogram (HK$380 per 75 gram bag). Produced only in Jiangsu Province Dong Ting Mountain, it also the rarest green tea in China, producing only about 1,000 kilograms a year.
It must be consumed fresh, within a year after picking the tea leaves. Screw shaped green tea of higher quality is best consumed within six months even. If it is tasteless, solvent or extremely bitter, that means it has already gone bad.
But while it is certainly expensive, screw shaped green tea has a very particular taste that not everyone may like. Even when it is fresh, it tastes more bitter than other teas.
For all those reasons, screw shaped green tea is only served at fine dining Chinese restaurants, usually at hotels.


5. Treat pu-erh tea like a digestible detergent to flush all the grease away

Always pair oily food with pu-erh tea. Dim sum, no matter steamed or fried, contains lard. When you eat shrimp dumplings, there is always a piece of fatty pork in there to add flavor and fragrance.
Pu-erh tea helps you rinse all the grease from the food out of your system. It aids digestion, blood circulation and lowers cholesterol levels.
If you don't have detergent at home, boil some pu-erh tea and use it to wash your dishes. It's like a digestible detergent.


6. Sweets go best with green tea

Sweet food is best paired with tea that is more bitter. Loong Jing green tea helps moderate the sweetness of desserts.
Like pu-erh tea, drinking green tea helps lower cholesterol levels and break down fat.
But while most teas are best brewed in boiling hot water, green teas like screw shaped green tea and loong Jing only need to be brewed in water that is about 75 to 85 degrees. If the water is too hot, it will be difficult to maintain the same fragrance in the second brew.


7. Tie Guan Yin goes best with spicy food

Spicy foods are best paired with Tie Guan Yin because it has a bittersweet effect. If you ever visit a Chiu Chow restaurant, they always serve Tie Guan Yin tea with their spicy dishes.
Plus, Chiu Chow city borders Shantou city and Fujian province, which is known for harvesting Tie Guan yin leaves.


8. Fried food goes best with white tea

Basically, any type of fried or deep fried food goes well with white tea. In Chinese medicinal terms, fried food is considered a dry hot.
White teas like white hair peony help release body heat.


9. Smell quality

Aside from pu-erh tea which is almost odorless, quality tea should always give off a fragrant smell.
If you can't smell the tea or or see that it is very solvent, then it has probably expired.


10. You won't be able to find good Pu-erh tea at dim sum restaurants

It is simply not cost-efficient. Pu-erh tea is like wine. The longer you store it, the richer it becomes. Storage for at least three to six years is optimal.
Regular pu-erh teas served at restaurants have generally been modified during the fermentation process to reduce storage time. By doing this, they lose whatever fragrance and flavor they originally had.
Good pu-erh tea should look very smooth and deep red in color, not black like regular pu-erh tea.
You can also test the quality of your pu-erh tea by the stain it leaves on your cup after drinking it. If you see a stain surrounding the rim of your cup, that means you are drinking regular or low quality pu-erh tea. If your cup is left with no stain after consumption, you are drinking pu-erh tea of high quality.


11. Tie Guan Yin, Daffodil and Oolong are all the same at dim sum restaurants

No matter which of the three you order, dim sum restaurants will serve you low grade daffodil tea. All three teas come under the same Oolong tea category, yet they are very different in flavor.
Tie Guan Yin tastes more clear and fragrant. Oolong is stronger and more solvent. And daffodil is the purest of them all.


12. The best moments of tea enjoyment are when you have time

Drinking tea is a matter of mood. And when I talk about mood, it mainly has to do with the condition of time.
You've probably heard many rules about tea, from water temperature to color. But at the end of the day, drinking tea is a very personal experience. 
Some people like their tea boiling hot while others like theirs lukewarm. Some may like theirs stronger than others. So it's all about time. We need time to brew that perfect cup of tea.

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